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Week in Review...

  • Ehren Kruger will be doing the rewrite of JOHN CARTER OF MARS, based on the first book (Princess of Mars) in Edgar Rice Burrough's famous 11-book science-fiction series, for director Kerry Conran, Producers Jim Jacks, Sean Daniel and Harry Knowles, Paramount Pictures and Alphaville.
  • Dax Shepard (WITHOUT A PADDLE) sold his script GUERRILLA PHOTOGRAPHER to Revolution Studios for Happy Madison to produce. It centers on an aspiring National Geographic photographer who is forced to take a job as a paparazzo to make ends meet. The photographer, who would likely be played by Shepard, then must act like a chameleon to assume different identities in order to get his shots.
  • Disney picked up Brad Gann's script INVINCIBLE for Mayhem Pictures to produce about a bartender from Philadelphia who went to an open tryout for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles and made the squad.
  • Director Sean McNamara (RAISE YOUR VOICE) and his producing partner David Brookwell are developing a quartet of follow-up features for McNamara to direct including BETTER WATCH OUT, a holiday black comedy about Santa's greedy twin brother. Annie de Young and Max Enscoe wrote the script. McNamara will follow with POPE JACK, a Bud Weiser and Patt Shea script about what happens when the newly elected pope turns out to have been married. He'll also helm DEATH TAKES A VACATION, a Gil Christner-scripted comedy revolving around the grim reaper's decision to take three days off in a resort town. McNamara and Brookwell also came up for the story for DAYTONA CABBIE, about a cab driver who winds up competing in NASCAR which John Warren is writing.
  • Gregg Ostrin's romantic comedy script PLAYING IT STRAIGHT will be produced by Farrell Paura Prods. at Sony's Columbia Pictures. The story concerns a work-obsessed man whose relationship with his girlfriend becomes further muddled when he gets too much help from his identical twin gay brother.
  • FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS second unit director Allan Graf has signed on to direct TURNING THE TIDE for Whitelight Entertainment. Graf co-wrote the project with John Ledesma based on a story by John Papadakis. It centers on the Sept. 12, 1970, college football showdown between the all-white Alabama Crimson Tide -- led by the legendary Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant -- and the integrated USC Trojans.
  • Bruce Feirstein (GOLDENEYE, TOMORROW NEVER DIES, THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH) is writing THE A-TEAM, based on the movie version of popular 1980s television series for Fox. The show concerned an unofficial team of Vietnam vets wanted by the military for a crime they didn't commit. Their action-packed adventures combined helping the innocent while running from the law. Show creator Stephen J. Cannell will produce the movie with Spike Seldin. The project will be updated from the Vietnam era and reflect contemporary issues and politics. Tone of the film will be less cartoony and more serious, in the vein of DIE HARD and LETHAL WEAPON. Mr. T is expected to have a cameo in the pic.
  • Universal Pictures and Adam Herz's Terra Firma Films picked up BACK TO AFRICA, a comedy scripted by Don Yost and Joel Kauffmann, about an ordinary guy who discovers he's an African prince andheads to the continent to claim his kingdom. It's not what he expected.
  • Marc Klein will direct an adaptation of Melissa Bank's best-selling short-story collection, A GIRL'S GUIDE TO HUNTING AND FISHING for Warner Independent Pictures and Odd Lot Entertainment. The book is an urban female's bittersweet take on love.
  • John Singleton is set to direct and Mark Wahlberg is in negotiations to star in FOUR BROTHERS for Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Paramount Pictures. The contemporary feature concerns four brothers who set out to avenge the death of their mother. Dave Elliot and Paul Lovett are writing the script.
  • Jessica Bendinger (BRING IT ON, FIRST DAUGHTER) will make her directorial debut on the Disney comedy STICK IT, based on her script. It's about a renegade girl who imports the idea of rebellion into the ranks of her fellow gymnasts, who are fierce rule followers.
  • Robert Luketic (LEGALLY BLONDE) is in talks to direct DALLAS, based on the big-screen version of the hit TV show, for Regency Enterprises. Robert Harling (STEEL MAGNOLIAS) wrote the screenplay.
  • Joel Schumacher will direct THE CROWDED ROOM, a true story of a man with 24 separate personalities based on the book THE MINDS OF BILLY MILLIGAN.
  • Michael Mann is in negotiations to script, produce and direct MIAMI VICE, based on the television show which he exec produced, for Universal. Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx are being pursued by the studio to play Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs, respectively.
  • New Line Cinema picked up FRATERNITY WARD, a comedy by brothers Jim, Dan and Mike Redmond. The story revolves around a bunch of rowdy, immature frat brothers who find themselves having to take care of a baby for a week, resulting in chaos.
  • Chris Columbus is directing a psychedelic 3-D, hi-def rock 'n' roll extravaganza, entitled 3-D ROCKS -- shot at an ambitious summer concert organized by rocker Steven Van Zandt ("The Sopranos"). Little Steven's all-day mega-garage gig -- dubbed the Intl. Underground Garage Festival -- went down on New York's Randall's Island in August with a long lineup of luminaries and neophytes alike storming the stage, from icons Iggy and the Stooges, Big Star and the New York Dolls to alt rock darlings the Strokes and the White Stripes. Also appearing were pre-garage icons Nancy Sinatra, Bo Diddley and the Pete Best Combo.
  • Regency Enterprises has acquired HAPPY PLACE, a pitch from the writing team of Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg (SCARY MOVIE), about a stressed-out family man who gets stuck in his mental "happy place" only to find it a living hell.
  • Paramount and Carsey-Werner have grabbed an untitled pitch from Bobby Newmyer and Scott Strauss' Outlaw Prods. Writer Johnny Rosenthal and director Phil Dornfeld have signed on to the project, described as a subversive comedy set in the world of miniature golf. Idea was inspired by the professional mini golf tour, with competition for cash purses, a Masters title and a green bomber jacket at Myrtle Beach, S.C. MISCELLANEOUS PRODUCTION TIDBITS
  • Paramount Pictures is moving its release of ALFIE back two weeks, from Oct. 22 to Nov. 5.
  • IDT Entertainment is going ahead with production on YANKEE IRVING, the computer-animated feature film Christopher Reeve had been directing. It centers on a father and his baseball-playing son who overcomes personal obstacles to realize his dreams.
  • Producers Arnold and Anne Kopelson formed a joint venture with Chicago-based Star Farm Prods., a company that develops children's properties and turns them into books. First up in the venture is EDGAR & ELLEN, a book series about precocious twins who, left alone by their parents, torment the townsfolk of Nod's Limbs.
  • New Line has purchased screen rights to JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL, the bestselling fantasy novel by Susanna Clarke. Story, set in 19th century England, is about a master practitioner of real magic and his apprentice, who share an uneasy alliance when they channel their powers in the war effort against Napoleon. One of them goes too far, tapping into an alternate dimension to bring a person back from the dead.

    -Elston Gunn (via

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